Congratulations to the first annual LCI Engineering Design Award recipient: Ultium Cells Battery Cell Manufacturing Facility

Congratulations to the first annual LCI Engineering Design Award recipient: Ultium Cells Battery Cell Manufacturing Facility

The Lean Construction Institute is pleased to recognize the awardee of the first annual Engineering Design Award:

Ultium Cells Battery Cell Manufacturing Facility, Warren, Ohio

  • Gresham Smith: Architect
  • Ultium Cells (General Motors and LG Energy Solution): Project Owner
  • Barton Malow Company: General Contractor


  • Hunt Electric Corporation/Lighthouse Electric Joint Venture
  • John E Green
  • Shambaugh & Son
  • Hodess Cleanroom Construction

Ultium Cells, a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, mass-produces battery cells to advance the vision for a zero-emissions, all-electric future. Through Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), Barton Malow, Gresham Smith, and all project partners designed and constructed Ultium Cell’s first 2.8-million-SF lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facility in northeast Ohio. The IPD team hit milestones rapidly, maintaining the compressed timetable to meet production dates. The facility produces over 40 gigawatt hours of annual capacity and created 1,500+ new high-tech jobs.

As a true IPD project, the contractual structure enabled a collaborative approach throughout the life of the project. Their implementation of daily problem solving allowed them to pivot during design to improve overall delivery while creating greater efficiencies for the end users. This carried through to standardization and planning for expansion.

The team utilized many processes to support their lean journey, from Target Value Delivery and Last Planner System to 5S, A3 thinking, and Choosing by Advantages, all within the context of a virtual big room. Clear Conditions of Satisfaction were established for the project emphasized developing strong relationships and assessing team health.

Honorable Mention:

Merck DS4, Durham, North Carolina

  • Jacobs (EPCM)
  • Merck (Project Owner)


· Cotter Brothers · Daldrop SBB · Environmental Air Systems · Feldmeier Equipment
· Gamewell Mechanical · Hilti · IPEC · LeChase
· Mathers · M.C. Dean · Paul Mueller Company · Southern Industrial
· Span Development · Techniserve · Total Facility Solutions · ValSource

About the award –

The Lean Construction Institute (LCI) Engineering Design Award recognizes delivering excellence in fit for use and engineering design while advancing the industry through collaborative Lean Project Delivery. The purpose of this award is to encourage Lean in Design and recognize the architects, engineers, designers, clients and constructors who work together to improve the design and construction process and produce design excellence in the built environment.

Submissions were scored by factor:

  • Generation of Value Fit for Use (50%)
  • How Lean tenets were used to achieve the final project (50%)
    • Respect for People
    • Optimize the Whole
    • Continuous Improvement
    • Removal of Waste
    • Process/Flow
    • Cost and Schedule Approach

We would like to acknowledge the 2023 LCI Design Award planning team for pioneering this award program.

LCI Design Award Planning Team Members and Engineering Design Award Jury Committee:

Planning team: Bernita Beikmann, HKS, Inc.; Stan Chiu, Gensler; Lisa Hitchingham, SSOE; Michael Murray, The Beck Group; Romano Nickerson, Boulder Associates; Neelanjana Sen, HGA Architects and Engineers; Andrea Sponsel, HKS, Inc.; Annmarie Thurnquist, Jacobs; Steve Wilson, HMC Architects

Jury facilitators: Julie Dolan, SSOE and Annmarie Thurnquist, Jacobs

Jury Committee: Eric Ahlstrom, Amgen; Bret Davis Roberts, Proctor & Gamble; Rebecca Snelling, RS Consulting; Katie Wells, Brasfield & Gorrie; Arden Yang, Allen Institute

LCI received many impressive submissions and would like to extend our appreciation to all those who submitted. Awardees will be recognized on Thursday, October 26th at the 2023 LCI Congress Award Ceremony in Detroit, MI!